Between the microscopic and macroscopic worlds is the mesocosmic world, which on Planet Earth constitutes the atmosphere that houses all the basic ingredients needed for the appearance of life, namely: air, fire, earth, and water.
May 28, 2020
The search for the ultimate building block of creation, or the beginning of all things, continues and there are strong indications that this search will continue in the next decades to come. Apparently, new particles keep on appearing as our atom-smashing instruments get all the more sophisticated in doing their job. But what is the meaning of all this? Capra hints that this search may just as well be futile and unproductive since, according to him, atomic physics has only shown that (2000:68-69):
. . . we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building blocks’, but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole.
The Roman poet Lucretius, in his poem De Rerum Natura, foresees this endless search, at least theoretically on his part. Applying his view on atoms, we can also ask: where does one stop smashing the atoms? So far, modern science has shown that something is still left at the end of every discovered subatomic particle. The early Greek philosophers explain the ultimate origin of all things in terms of material element. But they do not arrive at their conclusions through a scientific, experimental approach, but simply by means of speculative reasons and metaphysical intuition. Nonetheless, unlike their contemporary thinkers, they are not driven by myths legends, or fables. Today, of course, we know that all their conjectures about the ultimate nature of reality are wrong. More importantly, they fail to satisfactorily explain how the objects we see above us—planets, sun, moons, stars, galaxies—and around us—microorganisms, plants, insects, and animals—come into being. They fail to explain such natural phenomena as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, the cyclical season of our weather, and the like.
But the early Greek philosophers, other than exploring into the ultimate beginning of things, make another contribution by teaching us that within this ultimate material element are forces, laws, or principles that govern the operations and behavior of the Cosmos and all living things, including human beings. The resulting knowledge that the fundamental reality consists of both physical and non-physical, in the sense of being invisible (also forces, principles, or laws) that are not only responsible for the appearance of things, but, more importantly, guide the relationships and behavior of the appearing objects, continue to dominate during the time of the ancient Greek philosophers.